One Four Challenge – January Week One

I have enjoyed the last two months of the One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. This is a photo processing project whereby you select an image to work on and edit it in four different ways over four weeks.  You learn a lot, get useful feedback, improve your skills and have fun. So I am joining again in January, even though I said I was going to take a break.  I just couldn’t keep away!

January’s Project

Back in November, I discovered a beautiful area for bird watching at the Melbourne waters Western Treatment Plant. The plant’s lagoons, grasslands and coastline provide an ideal and varied habitat for birds with a permanent water supply, plenty of food and little interference from humans.  I was in bird photographer’s heaven.

One of the many feathered friends I observed was a flock of yellow-billed spoonbills, and I decided to make these the subject for my January One Four project.

I want to continue exploring the creative blending of photography, painting and textile art, started last month.

Week One Process

My first step was to turn a dull capture, taken at the end of the grey day and lacking in contrast, into something more useable for the next weeks’ transformations.

Here are the steps I have taken:

  • Cropped the photo, adjusted the highlights & shadows
  • Increased saturation
  • Image then put through the SketchGuru app and given a gouache treatment

Here is the original and the edited image with increased contrast and saturation, ready for further processing:

And now the Gouache Treatment:


I like the subtlety and freshness of colours in this first interpretation.  I would welcome your feedback.  What do you think?

Entries for the One Four Challenge January Week One appear here.  If you would like to see all work submitted for all One Four Challenges  click on this link.

50 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – January Week One

  1. Morning Chris! Glad you had to join us this month 😃😃
    I like that you are using this as a study for combining photography and art. We certainly mix other mediums and this combo works so well.
    I love watching birds too, so am enjoying your bird images as well.
    Really like the simplicity and freshness of what you have created here. Nice work Chris!

  2. Hi Chris, what beautiful birds. I like how there is more grass at the top of the image in the Gouache Treatment, probably due to the crop. The colors you gathered in the saturation are lovely too. There is still a nice movement to the image, looking forward to seeing how this image progresses through the month. Happy to see you are continuing the challenge! Safe travels and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Carrie – happy new year to you. I thought the gouache was quite a soft treatment that appealed to my amateur painting side! Thanks for your kind comments.

  3. I like the look. Birds in flight are so tricky to shoot. Can you adjust the level of the gouache and brightness to bring back just a little more detail in the wings?

  4. Hey Chris I am deeply envious of you getting this close to these spoonbills, we have some here but they are really really skittish and impossible to get close too.

    Really creative take on this version, I like it, it retains the important information in a simple and elegant way 🙂

    • Hi Stacey, thanks for your generous feedback. It helps to have a 400mm lens! These wetlands are sensational for observing lots of different bird species reasonably close. It has been a feast for the eyes! Chris

  5. Nice image Chris, I love the graceful shapes made by the birds wings, using the gouache effect has really highlighted this. They look like magnificent creatures, I’ll bet they are spectacular to see!

  6. Wow. I love this. The gouache treatment is a really cool effect. This becomes a picture I want to look at again, and more, and think about. Nice. Looking forward to more!

  7. The effect you did made the birds look quite styalised quite a great effect I found being a birdo I would have liked to see their bills better they blend into the background but you would expect that given the grassy background. Again well done great experiment. Sue

    • Thanks Sue – you will see greater details in the next interpretations. The gouache treatment is as you said stylised and removes details. The spoonbills are sure to feature in a Bird Photo Challenge post at a later stage, too, with a variety of good quality images. xx Chris

  8. You began with an excellent photo and turned it into a magical image! I so loved the effect that I immediately went to download Sketch Guru and it viciously attacked my computer! My PC is still being worked on and I’m trying to recover.

  9. It definitely has a tempera effect making the birds look surreal, it’s definitely an interesting tool I thik I’d like to try out.

  10. Late in the week to be commenting Chris, but it is such a beautiful stylized image I had to take the time to let you know how much I love what you have done here. As everyone else has too 🙂

  11. Pingback: April Review Week 4: Playing Around with Sketch Guru, a Free Photo App | Elizabatz Gallery

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